Pet Sematary by Stephen King Review

Pet SemataryIn On Writing, Stephen King tells of how many of the horrors within the pages of his novels come from his own fears. He recalls the story of an incident involving his own child. When his own child almost made it into the path of an oncoming vehicle, King could not silence the idea of what would have happened had the child been hit. How would he have coped? What would his life have been like? What would he do in order to take it all back?

Pair that with the inspiration he had gotten after seeing a nearby pet cemetery and what you have is the inspiration for Pet Sematary. Pet Sematary is, of course, not the only King work that pairs the animal world with that of the horror genre. His 1981 novel, Cujo, took the tale of Ol’ Yeller and turned it into what many of us felt the original should have been: a horrific tale of a beloved animal gone mad.

The theme of Pet Sematary goes beyond maniacal pets, however. Pet Sematary is a lesson in grieving and death as Louis, a young father, is introduced by his neighbor, Jud, to an ancient burial ground in which the buried come back to life. When the family cat meets a tragic end, Louis follows Jud’s instructions and buries the deceased pet in the ancient burial ground.

Skeptical, it isn’t until the cat returns home, alive, but changed, that Louis realizes the ancient burial ground does indeed have supernatural qualities. When Louis’ small son, Cage, is tragically hit by a speeding truck on the highway near the family’s home, he gives into grief and buries the child at the ancient burial ground.

Sure enough, Cage returns to the family home. No longer the sweet child he was before, but instead, a demonic toddler, Cage takes out Jud and his mother, Rachel, before Louis must do the unthinkable and return Cage to the land of the dead.

In true King fashion, it isn’t until the very end of the novel that you realize you’ve been had. King releases one last zinger on his readers before letting the words on the page disappear completely. Pet Sematary is a horrific tale that will have King fans lusting for the horrific King tales of the past.

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